Eight years ago, Minneapolis native Eric Jorgensen took up a new hobby of making hard apple cider with some friends on a farm in Washington. The former schoolteacher, who had migrated to the West Coast after college, didn’t see what would come next.

Finnriver Cider, a project he began with Keith and Crystie Kisler, took on a life of its own, with the cidery’s experimental styles and commitment to organic, sustainable agriculture quickly earning an avid following.

“Unbeknownst to us, we started just before hard cider really started taking off,” Jorgensen said. “Within a couple years, it became clear that I needed to either quit my teaching job or quit being involved with the cidery.”

He chose the former, of course, and now Jorgensen is returning to the Twin Cities to help host a six-course cider feast at Wise Acre Eatery (5401 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., wiseacreeatery.com) on Oct. 4.

A few of the 15 different cider styles Finnriver makes will be on hand for the fruit fête, although the exact pours — as well as the “cider-inspired” menu created by Wise Acre chef Brianna Baldus — hasn’t yet been determined.

There are plenty of possibilities. Finnriver makes a handful of traditional apple ciders, including the oak-and-apple (aged in rye whiskey barrels). Contemporary styles include dry-hopped and habañero ciders. The artisan sparkling cider is a bone-dry Champagne-style bottle. And then there is Finnriver’s latest project: the sour ciders, a growing method more common nationally in beers.

“We really led the cidery community in herbs, dry-hopping and botanical infusions,” Jorgensen said. “We were definitely at the forefront of that innovative side and we’re still pushing the edge as far as innovation and exploration.”

Tickets to the 46-seat dinner are $85. Call 612-354-2577 for more info.

Pork-free ramen, coming up

The Twin Cities’ newest ramen shop — and the area’s only exclusively pork-free ramen shop — has experienced some delays not unfamiliar to restaurant openings, but Jason Dorweiler, the chef/owner of Tori Ramen (toriramen.com), says the restaurant will open Oct. 15.

Originally, the debut was slated for September, but funding problems have caused a slowdown. Now, Dorweiler & Co. are waiting for loans to be approved in order to continue the build-out at 161 N. Victoria St. in St. Paul, which is nearly complete.

When they do welcome customers, they’ll be focusing exclusively on poultry and vegetables in their ramen. But Dorweiler — who previously worked as a consultant at Ippindo Ramen House and Domo Gastro, and as the general manager and chef of Unideli at United Noodles — isn’t pulling any punches.

“My aim is to be the best ramen shop,” he said. “I’m not going to stop until I reach that achievement.”

Better than a foamy heart

Got java skills? Come show them off at Bachelor Farmer’s (50 2nd Av. N., Mpls., thebachelorfarmer.com) after-hours Latte Art Throwdown on Oct. 6, open to all baristas and wannabes. Doors open and sign-up begins at 7 p.m., the competition starts at 8 and the Camber Coffee will be flowing. If you’re feeling more like unwinding than amping up, beer will also be poured in the courtyard. Free for attendees, a $5 buy-in for competitors.

New pop-up

Crave America chef Gerard Klass is bringing a three-course meal to north Minneapolis for one night next month.

“Klassics,” which will focus on reinvented comfort foods, will be held Oct. 16 at Breaking Bread Cafe (1210 W. Broadway, Mpls., breakingbreadfoods.com) in a neighborhood Klass grew fond of while living there during his education at Le Cordon Bleu.

The 6 p.m. dinner costs just $35. KFAI radio personality DJ Miss Brit will be spinning live. For more info, go to klassics.eventbrite.com.

“The night is going to feel like your summer cookout just graduated college,” Klass said in a release.

 

Smooth sippers

If you’re a drinker and a fan of Joia All-Natural soda, you might really flip for the new Joia Spirit craft cocktail line, launched in Minnesota this month. The fizzy libations, packaged in tall, slender cans, taste much like the Minneapolis-based company’s original soda versions but with new flavor twists — and vodka. The three varieties: Moscow Mule, Sparkling Greyhound and Sparkling Cosmopolitan — all less sweet than traditional sodas — are entering stores around the metro now.